On 7th February 2022 Grenada celebrated 48 years of independence. My friend Winston took me to Tempe in St George’s, Grenada, to meet Curtis Boney who was making oildown, the national dish of Grenada, from scratch for the celebrations.
Oildown is a melting pot of cultural history, a one pot, hearty meal made up of local meats, fish, spices and vegetables. The ingrediants may change slightly – depending on the chef – but a must for every oildown is breadfruit, callaloo, coconut oil and dumplings. It is traditionally prepared outside in a social setting and cooked over a wood fire. | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
My you tube channel is three years old! and so I am sharing what I have learned, over 32 months, with Top Ten Tips for new you tubers.
Tip 1 – Your Channel
Take time to decide what your channel is going to be about. Are you you tubing for fun or for money. Either way, make sure that whatever you choose is of genuine interest to you, otherwise you will very quickly grow bored.
Tip 2 – Your Name
Take some time to think of a suitable name for your channel. You want it to be unique, memorable, easy to find and a name that still works in ten years time. Also consider using a hashtag with your name so that a person can put it into Google search which means all your content – across social media – can be found easily.
Tip 3 – Your Growth
If you want your channel to grow at a steady pace you need to upload consistently, minimum two to three times a week. The more times you upload in a week (or even in a day), the quicker your channel will grow. There is no science or magic to it, just dedication and hard work!
Tip 4 – Your Thumbnail
A vibrant and engaging thumbnail will attract more people to your channel. I recommend www.canva.com which is very easy to use. Creating a thumbnail can be time consuming but its a skill that is worth perfecting.
Tip 5 – Your Promotion
You can promote your channel, for free, across social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Facebook Groups, WhatsApp Stories, Instagram Stories, blogs – to name but a few. You can also promote using Google Ads. Again, its all very time consuming – especially writing a blog – but if you can master it, it is worth your while. Collaborating with other you tubers is also another way to introduce your channel to a wider audience. Below is an example of a collaboration, my very first.
Tip 6 – Your Spending
Only spend what you can afford. You don’t need the most expensive camera, computer or editing suite. It is possible to vlog on a budget. Focus on producing good and engaging content and later, once you are a little more experienced, then you can invest more in the hardware.
Tip 7 – Your Audience
Make it a priority to engage with your audience / subscribers. In particular respond to all the comments. Of course, as your channel grows it gets more difficult but in the early stages you should make a genuine effort. Also consider a give-away, a fantastic way to let your subscribers know how much you care.
Tip 8 – Your Content
Stuck on what to do next on your channel? Use national holidays, observation days and trends to help create content for your channel. You can also use celebrity death days and birthdays. Or maybe there is a special holiday or cultural event in your country that you can tie a video in with. I also recommend creating a content calendar where you can map out your plans for the coming months.
Tip 9 – Your Confidence
Speaking to yourself, whilst staring into a camera, is not as easy as it looks and you may find that the moment you try to do it, for the first time, you feel very silly or intimidated. In particular if you are filming outside and people are staring at you. The answer is to practice until you feel more confident. And don’t ask other people what they think of your channel or your latest video, they might put you off. This might make you stop altogether. Critique yourself and make the appropriate adjustments in your next video and keep it moving!
Tip 10 – Start Now!
You don’t need a fancy camera, computer or editor. You don’t even need a thumbnail because you can work on that later. Don’t let anything or anyone change your mind or slow you down, start now! Start Today!
I love murals and I recently launched a You Tube series called ‘Murals Across Grenada‘ documenting murals on the Caribbean island of Grenada
There is something magical about a mural. Experiencing a mural in a public space is very different to tip-toeing around an art gallery or shuffling through a museum.
Murals can be found in the most unusual of locations and tend to be in parts of town suffering neglect or decline. They can appear on the sides of abandoned buildings, a block of flats in that densely populated neighbourhood or that boring wall in that parking garage. Its presence is usually a surprise to the onlooker who has ‘happened’ upon it unexpectedly. They turn a corner and bam, there it is! A vibrant, intricate work of art that, more times than not, has a positive , uplifting affect on the onlooker.
This was my experience in Brixton Market in London, England. I suddenly came upon a large mural of a black man with a colourful scarf and dreads. I was in Brixton to film a vlog on another subject. I knew the mural existed, I had seen it online, but didn’t know where it was exactly. So when I ‘happened’ upon it, I was stopped me in my tracks. Grabbed by the beauty, the size, the skill in the artwork and the odd location. I had to lean right back to appreciate its full height, getting in the way of shoppers as they went about their day. The locals were now oblivious to this masterpiece, it had been there a while and was now just another fabric of the market.
After filming my other vlog I returned to the mural to film it too. The original plan was to tag it to the end of the vlog I had just filmed. Once finished I began to make my way home and there stood before me … a man … who looked suspiciously like the subject of the mural. He smiled and I could see it was him. And from his demeanour, I knew he was used to people recognising him from the mural. I approached for a chat and you can enjoy the results of that meeting is my vlog, 20 Foot Grenadian In Brixton . And yes, it’s the complete truth, that is how I met him!
I live on the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada and for its size there are plentiful artists, artwork and murals. A couple years ago I did a ‘Stunning Murals In Grenada‘ vlog documenting three murals that I passed daily. This year it felt right to document some of the other incredible murals across the island. Art, in general, seems to play a significant and important role on the island of Grenada and so I also plan to explore some of the stories behind the artwork.
But going back to the title of this blog, are murals important? Yes they are and here are the top ten reasons why.
Reason One: MURALS BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO OLD SPACES! Murals help to beautify what could be described as a run down or neglected area and help to uplift drab walls and buildings. In my new series I feature murals from a ‘Beautify Grenada’ project. Grenadian muralist, artist and film-maker, Nahshon Jeremiah, is creating a mural in every parish across the spice island and each mural is a celebration of Grenadian way of life and culture. The space he uses are mostly dull walls that people pass everyday but now they will have something to help lift their spirits as they go about their daily lives.
Reason Two: MURALS AND MURALISTS ARE INSPIRATIONAL. The whole point of a mural is to inspire, to make the onlooker think and feel. To educate, to empower and to give hope. They encourage fellow artists to raise their game and youth to deliver more than mindless graffiti. Many projects across the world have worked with groups, in the local community, to develop particular murals in the space where they live and work. These projects help to inspire, increase a sense of belonging and community and give local people a voice.
Reason Three: MURALS ARE A FINANCIAL BOOST FOR LOCAL BUSINESS. Some murals are so engaging, they attract gawkers from far and wide. As a result a once forgotten street, or neighbourhood, will experience more footfall thus boosting the bottom line for local businesses. Lots of companies are also placing murals directly on the walls of their business, making the area more trendy, creating a trend and helping them to stand out from the crowd.
Reason Four: MURALS ARE INSTAGRAMMABLE. Instagram is the social media platform for the ‘selfie’ generation and instagrammers are constantly on the lookout for that perfect background. The Angel Wings murals are my favourite. So cool.
Reason Five: MURALS ARE GREAT FOR CELEBRATING ICONIC FIGURES: Famous people, from the world of entertainment, tend to live ‘larger than life’ lives anyway and so a larger than life mural is the perfect way in which to both celebrate and commemorate them. Locals love it, especially if that celebrity is from their home town. Not only does it fill them with pride but it also makes them feel closer to their icon.
Reason Seven: MURALS ARE ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE. Because murals are in a public space, it can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of age, wealth, religious beliefs, political persuasion or skin colour. Of course, depending on the part of the world, a mural can also be used for political propaganda.
Reason Eight: MURALS HELP IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH: If you live in a concrete jungle, with row upon row of high rise and low rise grey buildings, it can be disheartening. It has been proven that vibrant artwork, painted over drab asphalt, not only helps to boost community spirits but also alleviates anxiety and depression . The same could be said for those who happen upon a mural whilst on a ‘pandemic’ walk escaping the home after months of lockdown. A mural allows them to stop, breathe, take in what they see, think about something else – besides what is going on in the world – breathe again and then continue with their walk!
Reason Nine: MURALS ARE PEFECT FOR CARRYING A SOCIAL MESSAGE. Whether its to remind you to vote, wear a mask, not use plastic, protect the ocean, the planet or endangered animals – murals are in-your-face and engaging platforms for driving the message home. In the case of George Floyd, killed by US police over a minor incident, murals popped up across the world to both honour his memory and to encourage action against police brutality.
Reason Ten: MURALS HONOURING COVID19 FRONT LINE WORKERS. 2020 has been a year like no other. Because of the Covid19 pandemic millions have died, and continue to die, and lives have been turned upside down due to world-wide lockdowns. But throughout it all, frontline workers, such as healthcare workers, teachers, shop owners, farmers, factory workers (to name but a few) have bravely continued to help those in need and help keep the economy ticking over. Quite fittingly, many have been honoured in murals across the world.
I spent a perfect Saturday night swaying to sweet reggae music at the inaugural Grenada Music Festival 2019. This event is not to be confused with another event, with a similar name, that ran in Grenada from 2016 to 2018, but more on that later!
Grenada Music Festival 2019 (GMF 2019) took place over three nights from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th June 2019. Tickets prices were (in Caribbean EC dollars) $70 in advance for Friday & Saturday and $50 on Sunday. A 3-day Season Pass was $200 and VIP tickets started at $400.
The three nights were themed Rythm and Soul on the Friday, Reggae Fest on the Saturday and Soca Fusion on the Sunday. Friday featured local Grenadian, Solid the Band with Jeverson Ramirez, Grenadian, Eddie Bullen and international artists, Keri Hilson and Freddie Jackson.
Saturday featured Grenada’s Pride Drummers And Dance Troupe, Grenada reggae artist Thamara St Bernard and international artists Ky-Mani Marley, Maxi Priest and Busy Signal. Sunday featured a number of top Grenada Soca artists including Lavaman, Lil’ V’ghn and Wuss Wayz. International acts were Trinidad’s, Patrice Roberts, Blaxx and Teddyson John all supported by the D’ All Starz band.
The location was a Grenada peninsular called Quarantine Point, a large, sloping and fairly wild park area on the South West coastline of Grenada. This park is popular with both locals and visitors alike who visit day and night (be careful at night) to enjoy spectacular views across the water towards the town of St George’s. A rather magical space which inspires relaxation and reflection.
And magical is how I would also describe my GMF 2019 Reggae Fest experience. I attended on the Saturday only because on the Friday I had another engagement and I was planning to drop by on the Sunday but after arriving home at 4.30 am Sunday morning, and after not much sleep and cooking Sunday dinner, I was too darn tired!
Official festival flyer courtesy of Grenada Music Festival 2019
On Reggae Fest night, my friend and I parked in an area called Wall Street. Whilst it may share the name with another famous Wall Street this one is a side road with a few local shops. On a Friday and Saturday night it is transformed into a liming spot with a number of food trucks and music always blaring from somewhere. People tend to gather after the clubs or a concert and stay until the wee hours of the morning eating, laughing or just shooting the breeze.
We chose to park in Wall Street – and not the designated parking location which was approximately a six minute walk away – because we anticipated lots of traffic at the end of the night and it was our attempt to beat the crowds.
At the designated parking area – opposite the multi award winning Spice Island Resort – is where we caught the shuttle bus to the festival location. As we arrived at the car park we were pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous sounds of steel pan music delivered by Cordel Byam, and Republic Bank Angel Harps. The bus service was very much welcomed because the road to Quarantine Point is uphill and rather bumpy as building works is currently in progress. On foot it is a brisk 15 minute walk, and the last thing that you want to do when dressed up for a good night out.
At the first main gate to the festival we disembarked from the bus and joined the queue to have our tickets scanned. Suddenly everyone stopped moving because in the distance we could hear the strains of the National Anthem. And so we all remained motionless to pay our respects. I also had butterflies because the anthem let me know that the night had officially begun.
After scanning our tickets we walked up a short path towards the official entrance to the festival, a vibrant and colourful construction made of bamboo with red, yellow and green panels. I now wish I had taken a picture of myself in front of that entrance because it was stunning.
As we stepped inside the vibe was warm and relaxing . The hypnotic sounds of drumming – from Grenada’s Pride Drummers And Dance Troupe – filled the air creating a welcoming atmosphere. And then there were the pretty lighting which added to the magical experience.
To the left, under stringy lights, were food vendors and to the right were bleachers, already full with music lovers, and further on bars to buy drinks. In the distance, I could see the stage with two big screens on either side and what appeared to be an already huge crowd.
We made our way to the food vendor area which was nicely decorated with bamboo and had picnic tables dotted around. First I visited the bathroom which continued the bamboo theme on the outside. I can never get used to those portable toilets, even when clean they feel grimy. But I was in and out as quickly as possible but not before washing my hands using the foot pump tap which is always amusing.
I then bought myself a meat patty with the intention of buying more to eat later and we made our way to the bar. To purchase a drink you had to first buy a drinks ticket from a separate booth which is always a good idea for a swift service. With beers poured into a cup we would make our way down to the stage. I say ‘down’ because the area in front of the stage was on a slope. This was advantageous because it meant everyone had a clear view, even if you were at the very back! I was pleased to see that the crowd was not as dense as it first appeared from a distance and so we were able to find a fairly close spot.
To our right was the VIP area. On our way down I peered briefly through the fence to see they had nicely dressed tables and chairs and a flow of food and drinks. They also had direct access to the front of the stage. I remember thinking that one day, for the right artist, I will go VIP so I can get up real close but for now I was happy liming with the big crowds.
The first Act was Grenadian, Thamara St Bernard who put on a stellar performance and showed the crowd that local artists are as talented as those from overseas. She was followed by Ky-Mani Marley who, even though I am not familiar with his music, was very entertaining. He performed a few numbers by Bob Marley, which was to be expected, but it felt especially nice because of the family connection. He has a great voice and there were times that he sounded just like his father. It occurred to me that maybe ALL of Bob Marley’s children should come together and put on a concert, now wouldn’t that be something!
The special surprise guest, introduced by Ky-Mani, was Jamaican songstress, Etana. I was delighted because I have seen her perform live before and she is world class. She sounded so good I didn’t want her to leave the stage and I made a note to myself to see her sing live again as soon as it is physically possible.
The next artist to set the stage alight was the individual I was really there for, Maxi Priest! Now Maxi and I are from the same neck of the woods, Lewisham in London, England. In fact I knew Maxi before global fame! It’s always an odd feeling when someone from your part of the world is world wide famous.
Well Maxi did not disappoint, in fact he sounded better than ever. I have seen Maxi perform live a number of times and I can say, hands down, that this was one of his best performances. Not only was he looking particularly fit and healthy – with his melt your heart signature grin – but his voice was super strong and clear and each number was delivered to perfection. I did smile at the Paddington Bear hat and oversized dark glasses but when an individual embodies that much talent, the choice of dress becomes irrelevant and you are caught up in the mystical moment.
I could be wrong but Jamaican dance-hall artists record A LOT of songs! Well Busy Signal is no exception to that and it seemed like he was determined to perform ALL his songs that night because he was on stage for, what felt like, a long time (insert smile emoji here!)
That was OK though because Busy gave an amazing performance and was the right act to close the night. He burst on to the stage like a rock star and the energy levels went up around ten notches. He spat out some high energy numbers, most of which I was not familiar with, but I was captivated all the same.
Later he would transition smoothly from high energy to groovy, the atmosphere was relaxed and chilled and felt more like an intimate nightclub, with people grabbing their loved ones to rock to each tune. And I was nicely surprised to hear he had a good singing voice sounding very close to his records. Much later, when we realised he was never going to leave the stage (again, I’m smiling) we made our way back to the food vendors to watch the remainder of his set on the big screen whilst chowing down on some delicious chicken along with ice cold beer.
All in All, Grenada Music Festival 2019 gave more than its moneys worth that Saturday night. It definitely exceeded expectations. It felt professional and well organised, the atmosphere was both chilled and electric, the crowd was just the right size, the food was delicious and the entertainment was top notch.
Remember I used the word ‘inaugural’ earlier? Well there was another event called ‘Pure Grenada Music Festival’ which launched in 2016 but was cancelled in 2018. Some people either didn’t realise that it was cancelled or thought that maybe they had changed their minds and brought it back. No, it is still very much cancelled as announced on their own website https://bit.ly/2XjcpVt .
I was wondering who this new entity was and have since discovered that GMF 2019 was delivered by Q West Productions – https://grenadamusicfest.com – which I believe is owned by Grenadian promoter, Steve Duncan.
I have a soft spot for the first festival because I both worked and volunteered with them and so when they announced the cancellation it not only came as a surprise but I was also very disappointed. I believe an international music festival is exactly what Grenada needs. It could become a valuable and very important product in Grenada. I liken it to the Olympic Games, a real headach to organise, with people working around the clock to exhaustion and (at first) bleeds money but the national pride gained from it is tenfold. For the record, I also worked with London 2012 Olympic Game organisers so I know a lot about working to exhaustion!
The music festival product can help to boost the economy, bring the local community together, can really put the island of Grenada on the tourist map as well as help raise the profile of sponsors and local businesses. Local acts are not only exposed to an international audience but get to rub shoulders and learn from music veterans in the business.
Q West Productions must have thought the same thing because they did not miss a beat announcing the launch of their music festival in April 2019. And the huge crowd in attendance shows how much people welcomed it.
And with a few tweaks, in a few years, Grenada Music Festival will be able to stand toe-to-toe with more established festivals across the world. As long as they have a tight team and the attitude remains professional, the possibilities are limitless.
Nobody asked for my two cents but here are the tweaks that I hope they address to ensure the festival remains a safe environment as it grows in popularity. It includes a better crowd management system, especially around the shuttle buses which had people jostling with each other to board both before and after the event. Better lighting between the the entrance to Quarantine Point and the official entrance to the festival.
More cups at the bar. I believe they must have run out because they started to hand out bottles which was then left strewn all over the park grounds. Not only was it a tripping hazard but if there were to be some kind of crowd unrest the perfect weapon is right at their feet.
They should also consider more Green initiatives, for example paper instead of plastic cups, to leave less of a footprint. I was also surprised that no one checked our bags, or persons, as we entered the venue and that we were not given a guest tag for our wrists.
That being said though, I look forward to Grenada Music Festival 2020 which has already been announced on their social media and I am crossed fingers that this event will have a long and successful life on our beautiful Isle of Spice.
Tri-Centennial Park is a four level resting and viewing area in the town of St George on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. I explore this area in my you tube video ‘The Secrets of Sendall Tunnel in Grenada‘.
Since publishing the video I found out that the park was constructed for very important reasons which I will share in this blog. I suggest watching the video before reading the rest of this blog.
Also check out my other videos on you tube and if you enjoy my content, please like, comment and subscribe.
In my video I introduce viewers to a ‘secret space’ above the tunnel. I call it a ‘secret space’ because at the time of filming I didn’t know it had an official name – found out a couple of days later – had no clue how long it had been there or who had constructed it. And every time I say ‘relax’ or ‘shade’ in the video take a shot, by the end you will be very tipsy!
Before filming I conducted a quick unofficial survey in town. I asked ten local Grenadians, all strangers, if they knew of the space above the tunnel. I even asked the couple who run a local gift shop. No one was familiar except one person who said “oh you mean that seating area”. I asked if they knew when it was constructed, by whom or anything about the plaques bearing peoples names on the walls. They answered no each time.
The first time I went to the park I entered from the bottom. The image below is looking down towards the entrance. I was on my way to visit a family member in hospital and had never walked up these particular steps as there are at least three other ways to get to the hospital. Also, this area was previously over-run by bush so it was not easy to see from the road. The steps, in the centre of the image, on the right, leads to the first ‘secret space’.
The image below is my view as I make my way up the stairs. The red painted area on the left is the first ‘secret space’ which I will call Level One.
Imagine my surprise, when walking up these stairs for the first time, to come across a seating area that I had no clue existed. This space is made up of two concrete seats and a vibrant red wall.
The floor was swept clean and a black bin liner was tied to a fence so I knew it was a space that was being maintained. When you sit on the seats you are rewarded with a lovely view of the financial buildings opposite, you can also see people and cars as they enter the Sendall Tunnel directly below.
Considering how close this area is to the road it is a surprisingly relaxing space but I couldn’t understand why no shading was included in the design.
One of the concrete seats has the name Preston carved across it and I wondered of the significance of this word. Is it the name of the company that made the seats, the designer of the space or in commemoration of someone. All I know is those concrete seats are VERY hot, if sat upon in the middle of the day, so if you do visit I suggest bringing a blanket and an umbrella for shading.
In this same area there are stairs that lead to … nowhere! This got my mind racing. Where were those stairs supposed to lead to? The plot thickens.
I make my way further up the main stairs and I turn at another gap on the left. I will call this space Level Two.
In my video, as I turn on to Level Two, I missed a plaque that was on a wall just beyond. If you stop my video at 06.27 you will see where I missed the plaque but here is an image below.
This is the plaque that would provide more information on the whole space. I saw this plaque a couple days after publishing the video. I was on my way down the stairs after visiting the same family member in hospital.
According to the plaque, Tri-Centennial Park was opened on 23 November 2011 to commemorate the 300th Anniversary of the town of St George.
Now that I had a name for the space I did a google search for more information and found out the following.
An article on the Grenada Government website mentions a 2009 sod turning ceremony which is when work began on the park. It also lists the various government bodies involved in creating the space and announced a Tri-Centennnial event to be held on the Carenage in March 2010. Read the full article here.
I also came across this lovely ad promoting the forthcoming Tri-Centennial events in 2010 in Grenada.
Then on local news site, Now Grenada, I found an article from 2013 on the unveiling of a new plaque for the site. The plaques bare the names of people who are now deceased but contributed to the development of the town of St George. The plan was to have new plaques added annually. Read the full article here:
So what happened? For some reason the park was not completed and left unattended for a few years. It was then overtaken by weeds and bushes. But who cleaned it up?
I then found this news report from January 2018 by local TV channel, Grenada Broadcasting Network. According to this report the Community Relations Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force partnered with Grenada Tourism Authority and other stake holders to conduct a clean-up of the park. This report also says the Community Relations Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force have adopted responsibility for the park.
So let’s continue our exploration of the park. In the images below is the plaque on Level Two, referred to in the Now Grenada article.
At the top of the plaque it says “This wall was erected in tribute of those who made significant contribution to the development of the town of Grenada”
I also took images of some of the names on the plaque. As mentioned before, the people commemorated here contributed to the development of the town of St George and the plan was for new plaques to be added annually.
I continue to walk up to the Third Level where I was greeted by four concrete seats, again with no shade, but if you have a blanket and large umbrella it would be a lovely and relaxing space to hang.
But the most interesting section in Tri-Centennial park is the area shaped like an Amphitheatre. It is so inviting, I could imagine myself sitting there for hours with a good book, listening to music or just to relax and enjoy the views.
I could see a lot of hard work went into the making of this park which is why it was a shame to see it not being used more, except for one guy who sat on its edges to catch the shade of an overhanging tree.
The view from the Amphitheatre on the Third Level is both stunning and very relaxing and there is also a lovely breeze too!
I noticed on the floor, by the Amphitheatre, slabs of wood and as I looked over the railings I could see the beginnings of construction work. Maybe the stairs to nowhere will lead to this construction. All I can do is wonder.
I walk up a couple more steps to a Fourth Level which is a pathway leading back to the main stairs. I’m thinking the wall here was possibly intended for more plaques to commemorate people who contributed to the development of the town of St George!
Below is the view from the top of the main stairs looking down just above the Fourth Level. A young man is sitting on a wall and hiding from the sun under the shade of a tree. If Tri-Centennial park were to have shading I could imagine it would be a very popular spot for hanging out.
The main stairs leads to a road above and this is the view looking back at the Carenage, abandoned Library and financial buildings – and what a stunning view it is!
I took a picture at this very spot a few years ago, when Tri-Centennial park was overgrown with bush which is why I had not noticed it before.
Next to Tri-Centennial park are derelict buildings, a stark reminder of the devastating effects of Hurricane Ivan which passed through Grenada in 2004 leaving destruction in it’s wake.
It is not clear why Tri-Centennial park was never completed and eventually abandoned. The plaques commemorating those who contributed to the development of the town of St George was a great initiative and its a pity that it was not continued.
But I am very pleased to see the park is restored and continues to be maintained and I commend the Grenada police for making it happen. All it needs now is some shading to help it on its way to becoming an Oasis in the centre of town, a space for relaxation and reflection.
If you live on Grenada, or visiting the beautiful Isle of Spice, I hope you get to experience this little known area. And if you do please let me know in this blog, on my Instagram or in the comments in my you tube channel.